Governor Hochul Vetoes Primary Care Legislation, Misses Opportunity to Advance Health Equity and Primary Care for Underserved New Yorkers

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Vetoed legislation would have started a path to better access to quality primary care for New York’s most vulnerable communities.

At this point, more than a dozen other states have moved forward with similar policies, and New York has not just failed to lead but has fallen behind.

Primary Care Development Corporation (PCDC) — a New York-based, national nonprofit and Community Development Financial Institution that aims to increase access to primary care and achieve health equity through strategic community investment, capacity building, and policy initiatives — is deeply disappointed that despite months of careful legislative consideration and strong support from health care providers, advocates, and state lawmakers, Governor Hochul vetoed Assembly Bill 7230B/Senate Bill 6534C.

The bill, championed by Health Chairs Senator Gustavo Rivera and Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, was designed to help New York move towards a primary care-centered health care system and ensure that every individual has access to the right care, at the right time, in the right place. Primary care saves lives, leads to improved individual and community health, and is unequivocally central to health equity – yet it is grossly undervalued and underfunded, the effects of which are felt most acutely by low-income communities, communities of color, and rural communities.

This legislation would have started a path to better access to quality primary care for New York’s most vulnerable communities. PCDC CEO Louise Cohen stated, “We are deeply disappointed that Governor Hochul vetoed this legislation and missed a critical opportunity to advance health equity and improve access to primary care for all New Yorkers. At this point, more than a dozen other states have moved forward with similar policies, and New York has not just failed to lead but has fallen behind. We call on Governor Hochul to demonstrate her commitment to a healthier New York by taking concrete steps now and in her next budget to direct the State Departments of Health and Financial Services to increase investment in primary care.”

“I am disappointed by Governor Hochul’s decision to veto my bill, S.6534C, which would have created a primary care reform commission," said State Senator Gustavo Rivera, sponsor of the bill. "New York State does not invest enough in primary care despite spending more per capita on health care than the national average. I am committed to continuing to work with my colleagues and stakeholders such as PCDC to ensure we address inequitable access to primary care and significantly improve New Yorkers' health with investments in preventive and non-emergency care.”

PCDC will continue to advocate alongside advocates, health care providers, and lawmakers to increase investment in primary care and improve access to quality primary care for all New Yorkers.

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